Characters: Spock, McCoy, Kirk, POV Scotty
Word Count: (this chapter) 2400
Rating: T
Warnings/Spoilers: Spoilers for Spock's Brain.
Summary: Tag scenes for the end of Spock's Brain. Yes, that episode. Serious treatment of that not-so-serious episode.

A/N: Annnnd the award for worst episode, according to Memory Alpha's records, goes to this little gem – which frankly I think isn't quite fair, given what a yawner some of the others are (Way to Eden, anyone?). Is it terrible, yes. Is it riddled with plot holes and awful dialogue? No question. But it definitely has its redeeming moments if you can look past the insanity, much like the series as a whole, and the Sickbay scene at the very beginning actually is pretty traumatic for everyone concerned if you think about it.

Also, it's one of the few episodes where the redshirts in the landing party don't die, so it should be noteworthy for that alone, lol.

Second Officer and Chief Engineer of the Federation's esteemed flagship Lieutenant-Commander Montgomery Scott has seen many odd things in his two-plus decades in space.

Now true enough, he has seen more of those odd things in the last three years than in the twenty prior to that, but this seems to have come with the territory; meaning that of inheriting this firestorm of a ship and her equally enterprising (but no less accident-prone) captain.

But amid the strangeness which comes of exploring barely-charted space, meeting new species and encountering entirely unheard-of technology – amid all that, he has never before been called upon for such a task as the last six hours, and the good Lord willing he will never be asked to participate in such a thing again. He has more than one misgiving about the entire affair, but 'tis not his place to question the orders of the captain unless there is good cause – and even he, is not so foolish as to cross the man when he looks like that. No, that is a task best left to an entirely different species, and welcome to it.

Granted, said species is the problem pure and simple, in this instance, and it still hasn't quite settled with him yet that their resident Vulcan is back up and, to all appearances at least, firing on all thrusters. Doctor McCoy is as much a miracle worker in Medical as Scott himself is in Engineering, bless the man, but just the same…it is a bit of a stretch, believing that the other shoe is not going to drop in spectacular fashion when they least expect it. Because, really – brain surgery is not something to shut eyes to, on a good day; and an advanced procedure like this, with strange technology and borrowed knowledge thanks to some alien magicking?

He is not a praying man, but just the same…it does not hurt to have one's bets hedged, not at all.

After two hours of whingeing and crying and finally seeing the light of common sense, the native women have finally agreed to allow a delegation from the Enterprise to mediate between them and the males of the planet's population. This has finally freed the landing party to return shipside, armed with the knowledge that they may at least have salvaged a First Contact out of what is clearly a blatantly broken Prime Directive.

The look on Captain Kirk's face when said broken General Order One was pointed out to him by his First Officer during their negotiations, was the stuff nightmares are made of; and none have dared to bring it up since. With any luck, Scott is confident he will be able to coax some additional speed out of those new plasma converters they picked up on their last stopover at Starbase Forty-three, and they may be back on their scheduled mission before Command even realizes they detoured. For the Captain's sake (and therefore for everyone's), he certainly hopes so.

This ship, for the love of all things holy. Greying before his time, he is. No doubt about it.

Mr. Chekov, Doctor McCoy, and his Security lads disappear in the first transport beam, and he moves into place along with the Captain and Commander as soon as the first patterns are fully disintegrated, all too eager to be out of the planet's native cold. (The chill that stabs across the intervening meters between his two superiors as they prepare for beam-out is just as unpleasant, but at least is less physical.)

Mr. Spock appears steady enough under his own steam, though his coloring is a mite paler than normal, and thank Providence it's Leslie at the transporter controls and not some less experienced Engineer; the transport is quick and smooth, even with mild interference in the upper atmosphere. Not even Doctor McCoy can complain about the process.

A last tingle of electron dissipation and he shakes off the disorienting feeling, stepping down with a sigh of relief to make room for their replacements. The team from Xenosocietal Development and Communications is waiting under the competent direction of the always lovely Nyota Uhura, who gives him a warm smile as she scoots past him onto his transporter pad. Ah, if only things were different…

"And where exactly do you think you're going?" Lurking by the doors like some kind of blue-shirted jungle cat, Doctor McCoy pounces just in time to keep Captain Kirk from escaping the room in the shuffle; the man is fast, but not fast enough.

"You are walking on thin ice, Bones," is the warning delivered in that clenched tone that Scott has personally seen make overconfident junior officers ask for departmental transfers their first week aboard.

"And you're walkin' nowhere but to Sickbay. Standard procedure after an away mission where there's been an altercation of any kind. Full neural workup – you too, Scotty." McCoy glares at him across the room, and it is a formidable weapon despite the distance.

The away team tries to hide the fact that they are not-quite-laughing, and disappears a moment later in Leslie's transport beam. Aye, and had Scott not been fully involved in this nightmare the last few hours he might have a bit of a chuckle as well – but this has been no laughing matter, when it comes down to it, and the situation is not likely to improve.

"Doctor, I am coherent and without signs of physical trauma; therefore under Starfleet regulation 704.5b I have the command authority to waive that examination until an undetermined time in the next twenty-four hours. Now, if you will excuse me, gentlemen, I have a board of very angry admirals to face over why we are not going to reach Gamma Noctis IV in the time frame requested by the royal council of that planet."

The door slides shut, hiding a retreating gold shirt from view. Leslie gives an awkward sort of cough and edges out of the room a moment later, fleeing down the corridor with nary a look back. Honestly, the lad needs to have more of a spine if he intends to withstand another three years on this mission; he's seen nothing but bark and no bite thus far, so to speak.

Finally McCoy turns sharply, heel squeaking on the durasteel flooring, and fixes him with a look that would frighten a lesser man. Fortunately, he is well immune by this point, and can be the voice of sanity and reason when these three turn on each other, as happens on a day like today.

"You about to break down on me, too? Because I can only handle two crises today, and this one here is about to keel over any second." A sharp elbow catches their First Officer in the torso, whereupon a fearsome glare is leveled in both their directions – a look which is far too human to be anything but hilarious.

"That'd be a negative, Doctor. Would ye like me to defer my examination as well, and be prepared to take over the Bridge, then?"

"You feelin' any aftereffects of those pain belts?"

"Not at all. A mite sore but no worse than a busy day in Engineerin' would have me."

"Then yes. I got no idea what's going on with Jim and oh no, you don't – alien technology or no alien technology, no brain surgery patient of mine is going to be running around this ship on his own two feet like nothing happened!" Spock's eyebrows pull together in a frown, though he is starting to look a little paler than before. "Sickbay. Now."

"I do not require assistance, Doctor."

"Good, because that's the last place I want to be right now too. You take him, Scotty." Scott finds himself abruptly in possession of an armful of glowering Vulcan scientist, and wonders vaguely when this became his lot aboard this blasted ship. "I'll go find Jim, assuming he wants to be found."

He stares at the closing doors for a moment in consternation, before sighing and turning to their resident convalescent.

"Well, sir. Looks like 'tis me you're stuck with for now." He nudges their poor First in the direction of the nearest turbolift, and watches to make sure he's steady enough on his feet before continuing down the corridor. "Not experiencing any ill effects, I hope?"

Spock's side-eye is almost fond in its annoyed exasperation. "I am in full possession of both my faculties and my intelligence, Mr. Scott," he replies dryly. "I do not require what I believe you humans call a 'baby-sitter', nor is there a need to engage in idle chatter prior to our reaching the intended destination."

"Annnnnd we missed you too, sir." He rolls his eyes as the lift doors close behind them. "Computer, manual override. Scott, Montgomery, Chief Engineer, authorization code gamma-one-three-one-zero-three. Deck Six, override all other stops and commands."

Spock's small huff is the closest thing he will ever hear to a laugh, that much he's learned in the years they have served together aboard this ship, first under Captain Pike and now, under a totally different commander – one who is likely by now trying his best to hide from a medical homing beacon on the Observation Deck, if his guess is correct.

"I am curious, however," Spock finally muses, as they exit the lift on Deck Six after relative silence, "as to Doctor McCoy's strange behavior in the transporter room."

"Eh?" He nods to Lieutenant Marston as they pass in the corridor; the lad has been out from Engineering on sick leave for four days and obviously has just been cleared, as he's beaming from ear to ear and finally has a bounce back in his step. "How's that, then?"

"His unusual reluctance to exercise his medical authority in personally overseeing how much discomfort he can inflict upon my physiology in a single visit."

"Ah, y'mean not wanting to see you to Sickbay himself, sir."

"I believe that is what I just said, Mr. Scott."

Scott sighs, as they turn the corner toward the medical wing in question. "Well…if I had to hazard a guess, Mr. Spock, and just a guess, mind…I'd say 'tis likely because of what happened after we all woke up from that trance before it all went to the very devil, sir."

Spock looks totally confused. "I do not follow."

"Sir, how exactly d'you think we found out that you were, well, missing a vital organ, so to speak?" He shudders as they enter Sickbay, Spock following slower at his heels. "All I can say, is I wouldna have the stomach to walk in and find that just lying on one of the tables in here."

Bless him, their First looks a little green at the idea. "You mean to say, Mr. Scott…"

"All I know is about ten seconds after we woke up on the Bridge, I was running down this corridor after the Captain, because I've never heard the Doctor sound so spooked." He shakes his head, pleased to see that Nurse Chapel has apparently been taken off duty despite this being her normal shift – she deserves it. That's a strong woman, that is. "I can't imagine it was a pretty sight, to walk into. Apparently this alien 'teacher' wasn't much for post-operative recovery procedure, based on what they found."

Spock's expression turns another shade of pale. "Did the captain see this?"

Of course, that's his question. Scott rolls his eyes, unseen, as he gestures for the nurse on duty to take over his reluctant burden. "Doctor McCoy says a full neural workup and a complete brain scan," he informs the young man, who eyes his superiors with well-founded trepidation. "And no, of course not," he adds, as the nurse bravely attempts to tug their Vulcan patient toward an examination table. "Doc's smarter than that, Mr. Spock, you know that. Got you on life support and under a sterile field before comm-ing the Bridge, and all that within thirty seconds. You owe the man, y'know. And Christine, she was the one who found you first."

"I will speak to Nurse Chapel when she returns to duty." An uncomfortable squirm, which the nurse ignores as he sets scanners in motion. "As to Doctor McCoy…"

The doors abruptly open behind them, and a familiar figure storms in, beelining for his office and leaving a trio of technicians in his wake scrambling nervously out of the danger zone.

Saints preserve them.

"I believe we may infer the captain was uncooperative."

Scott snorts. "The captain, sir, is likely as traumatized as the rest of us and no idea how to deal with it."

Something inside the office shatters against the wall, causing the young nurse to jump, wide-eyed. The neural scan shuts off with a warning chirp, safety protocol engaged at the abrupt jerking motion, and Spock sighs, closing his eyes briefly against the padded table.

Besides Bridge duty, Scott has an Engineering department to finish inspecting, because it was not in his plans today to have to abruptly come up with the mechanisms for a remote-controlled Frankenstein-Vulcan, thanks very much. (That the previous statement does not even sound out of the ordinary to him, should likely raise more of a red flag than it does, but that is life aboard this ship.)

He does not have time for this.

"So, which one of them d'you want, sir? Giving the sick man the first choice, 'tis only fair."

"Your kindness knows no bounds, Engineer."

"Oh, aye. I do try, Mr. Spock."